Knocked Up, Knocked Down: Postcards of Miscarriage and Misadventure from the Brink of Parenthood
This book is not just for those that have experienced a miscarriage. Let’s make that clear. Yes, Knocked Up, Knocked Down: Postcards of Miscarriage and Other Misadventures from the Brink of Parenthood is all about the journey of healing from the great loss of being pregnant, physically caring for this baby within, then suddenly having parenthood ripped from beneath you. It’s a horrendous experience. However, what this book does best is open up that harsh reality to everyone who has never experienced it. Too often those that suffer through miscarriage or stillbirth feel outcast. While people generally know how to react to the death of a family member or friend, the death of an unborn child is confusing territory. The worst: some people just don’t understand how terribly painful that loss is. Reading this book will change that.
Knocked Up, Knocked Down is a very personal account of Monica Murphy Lemoine’s experience of entering motherhood, but ending up without a baby. How do you heal from such a confusing and heartbreaking experience? While it’s different for everyone, Monica found that most of the grieving literature in regards to miscarriages and stillbirths wasn’t at all helpful. If anything, she found it to be patronizing and irritating. While she tried many of the suggestions, her journey of finding out for herself what helps and what just makes it worse is helpful for anyone in a similar circumstance or anyone wanting to understand those that are.
As far as the writing itself, with a jarring, crass beginning, and slow character development, it takes at least thirty pages before you even begin to feel like you’re truly getting to know the author. Even though she shares plenty of personal information right from the beginning, there’s not much of an introduction. The story begins forty-eight hours after her miscarriage, jumping right into the focus of this journey, but you feel like you’re playing catch up trying to get to know her.
Once you get about fifty pages into this 200 page book, it all starts to come together. All of the introductions are finally explained with sufficient back-story to feel like you personally know Monica and her husband Kevin. Once that’s in place, it’s easier to understand, relate, and feel great compassion for this couple as they try to heal from their loss. Is Knocked Up, Knocked Down a bit depressing? You bet. But will it give you new perspective? Absolutely! This book is completely worth the read.
You would think with miscarriages and stillbirth being as common as it is (as Monica points out, the International Stillbirth Alliance states that 4.5 million stillbirths occur worldwide each year), that this topic would be addressed more often. But the truth is, it’s not. Good for Monica helping others feel less alone and providing everyone else with the means to begin to comprehend. Plus, readers can continue to follow Monica through her blog. After reading her book, you are sure to wonder “What happens next?” and, fortunately, with her blog the journey continues.
Monica manages to bring you inside her world and allows you to share in her experiences, both the good and the bad, without making you feel like a voyeur. She opens up in a way that feels like family, a really close-knit and brutally honest family. No doubt you’ll walk away from reading her story a little wiser and much more empathetic.